Summary Gerd Vs Acid Reflux
Acid reflux has become an extremely common condition nowadays. Not adhering to a daily exercise plan, sedentary and busy lifestyle along with the fast food that people are vastly consuming have contributed to the increased incidence of this condition. When this condition progresses into a more advanced stage where there is a significant level of gastric acid reflux into the esophagus that condition is identified as GERD. This is the difference between GERD and acid reflux.
What Are The Symptoms Of Indigestion
Each persons symptoms may vary. Symptoms may include:
- Feeling full too soon while eating
- Feeling pain, burning, and discomfort in your upper belly or abdomen
- Feeling bloated
- Burping and loud stomach gurgling
- Having an upset stomach or vomiting
- Having diarrhea
- Having gas
The symptoms of indigestion may look like other health problems. Always see your healthcare provider to be sure.
When Should I Call The Doctor
Because indigestion can be a sign of a more serious health problem, let your doctor know if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Vomiting or blood in your vomit. It may look like coffee grounds.
- Weight loss you canât explain
- Loss of appetite
- Stools that are bloody, black, or tarry
- Severe pain in your upper-right belly
- Pain in the upper- or lower-right parts of your belly
- Feeling uncomfortable even if you havenât eaten
Recommended Reading: Tramadol Causes Constipation
I Always Seem To Have Indigestion After Eating What Should I Do
If you have constant indigestion that hasnt improved with lifestyle changes, talk to a doctor, says Dr McClymont. They can discuss your individual symptoms, lifestyle and medication history, and make a plan on whether you need further treatment or investigations. A Livi doctor can help take you through this.
Gerd: The More Serious Cause
GERD stands for gastroesophageal reflux disease .
Like its name suggests, GERD is a more serious version of acid reflux. They can both cause heartburn. Often people who experience heartburn more than twice a week have GERD.
GERD happens when the closure in your lower esophaguswhich is near your stomachbecomes weak or relaxes when it should not. Symptoms include heartburn, regurgitation, chest pain, dry cough, shortness of breath, or trouble swallowing.
Treating GERD may require prescription medications. Occasionally, surgery or other procedures may be necessary.
If you suspect you have GERD, make sure to see your provider or a gastroenterologist, a doctor who focuses on the digestive system. This can help prevent future damage to your esophagus, or cancer.
MedlinePlus National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Recommended Reading: What Can I Do To Reduce Heartburn
Read Also: Can Bananas Cause Gas And Bloating
How Can My Doctor Tell If I Have Heartburn Or Acid Reflux
A medical doctor can often diagnose GERD and heartburn by your description of the symptoms your experience.
You may see a gastroenterologist, a medical specialist in disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, who may order an upper GI series. This is a series of X-rays of the esophagus, stomach, and upper part of the intestine often used to rule out other health conditions. An upper GI endoscopy, where a flexible probe with a tiny camera at the end is passed down your throat to see the esophagus. This helps diagnose how severe your acid reflux is, and can also rule out other health complications.
If your symptoms are not clearly from acid reflux, your doctor may perform other tests to rule out important conditions like heart attack, ulcers, lung problems, esophagus problems, and gastritis.
How Long Does Gerd Take To Heal
If allowed to continue unabated, symptoms can cause considerable physical damage. One manifestation, reflux esophagitis , creates visible breaks in the distal esophageal mucosa. To heal RO, potent acid suppression for 2 to 8 weeks is needed, and in fact, healing rates improve as acid suppression increases.
Don’t Miss: Name Four Drugs Having Harmful Effects On Fetus
Medical Treatments For Gerd
Medications are available with and without a prescription for acid reflux and GERD.
Antacids: First-line treatments for acid reflux are usually antacids. These medicines act quickly to reduce the effect of stomach acid, which can relieve symptoms. Examples of these medicines are Tums and Rolaids.
If these medicines dont relieve acid reflux or a person has GERD, other treatments can include:
H2 blockers: H2 blockers are designed to reduce the amount of acid a persons stomach produces. Sometimes taking these medicines with antacids can help. Examples of these medicines include cimetidine and famotidine .
Proton pump inhibitors: These medications work longer than H2 blockers to reduce acid in the stomach. They can also help heal the stomach lining. Examples include:
Prokinetics: These are medications like metoclopramide . There is controversy as to whether these medications benefit people with GERD. Many new prokinetics have been removed from the market due to serious side effects .
If medications dont reduce a persons acid reflux symptoms, a doctor may recommend surgery to avoid further damage to the esophagus and stomach. One surgical approach is known as Nissen fundoplication. This involves wrapping a portion of your stomach around the esophagus to strengthen the LES.
- difficulty breathing
When To See A Doctor
Are you struggling with ongoing symptoms of heartburn and indigestion that are not going away with over-the-counter medications and home remedies?
Its time to see a doctor.
Your health care provider will examine you to determine if you have a more serious condition and recommend a treatment plan for you.
They may do a physical examination of your abdomen along with imaging, including an endoscopy if you are over 60 years old or have particularly severe or otherwise concerning symptoms.
Your doctor may also conduct a blood or stool test to determine if your indigestion is a sign of a bacterial infection.
If you experience severe chest pain, pressure, difficulty swallowing, nausea, vomiting, and recurring heartburn, especially pain in the arm or jaw, you should seek medical advice immediately.
Since most indigestion can be cured with over-the-counter medicine, recurring symptoms or strong symptoms will need medical attention.
Don’t Miss: Align Daily Probiotic Supplement Reviews
Delaying Treatment For Gerd May Lead To Complications
If GERD goes untreated, it can lead to more serious complications. One such issue is esophagitis, which is inflammation in the esophagus. Hagan says that if esophagitis is not treated, you may develop a stricture, which is a narrowing of the esophagus that can lead to esophageal pain and affect proper swallowing.
Another complication of GERD is a condition called Barretts esophagus . Over time, the stomach acid causes cells in the lining of the esophagus to look more like the stomach lining, says Hagan. These changes, which happen on a cellular level, may in rare cases lead to a form of esophageal cancer. According to the Mayo Clinic, BE is more common in:
- White males
- People older than age 50
- People who are overweight
Esophageal cancer is relatively rare, making up just 1 percent of all cancer diagnoses in the U.S., according to the American Cancer Society. However, over the past few decades, the incidence rate of esophageal adenocarcinoma has been on the rise in North America and Western Europe, according to a report published in 2019 in the Journal of Gastroenterology.
Furthermore, a study published in January 2021 in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, found that this form of cancer is on the rise in younger adults: Between 1975 and 2015, the incidence rate of esophageal adenocarcinoma increased by an average of 2.9 percent per year.
Additional reporting by Ashley Welch.
Whats The Difference Between Heartburn Vs Acid Reflux
Heartburn is just what that term implies: You feel a burning pain in your chest just behind the breastbone. Asking whether you have heartburn or acid reflux is actually a trick question because heartburn is simply considered a symptom of acid reflux, per the NIDDK. If you have heartburn, youre experiencing some form of reflux. Its similar to asking whether you have swollen gums or gingivitisthe former is a symptom of the latter.
However, not everyone who has acid reflux experiences heartburn, just as you may not have swollen gums even though you struggle with gingivitis. But its more likely that you will deal with heartburn since its the most common symptom of acid reflux, says Dr. Balasubramanian. Heartburn implies that your acid reflux has come up to the level of your heart, and its usually worse after eating common trigger foods like chocolate or tomatoes or when lying down after eating or drinking. You may also have a bitter or acidic taste in the mouth, which Dr. Balasubramanian says is an effect of the acid traveling higher up your throat.
Don’t Miss: Heartburn Side Effects
When Should I Call My Healthcare Provider
Indigestion can be a sign of a serious health problem. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have indigestion and any of these symptoms:
- Frequent vomiting
- Weight loss or not feeling hungry
- Bloody, black, or tarry stools
- Sudden sharp pain in your belly or abdomen
- Trouble breathing
- Pain that spreads to your jaw, neck, or arm
- Difficult, painful swallowing
- Yellow coloring of your eyes or skin
Also call your healthcare provider if you have indigestion that lasts longer than 2 weeks.
How Long Does Indigestion Last
Because indigestion is a symptom and not a cause, the outlook depends upon resolving the underlying cause.
If indigestion is caused by lifestyle habits, the prognosis is good. Prevention of the lifestyle cause can often resolve the symptoms and cure your indigestion.
If indigestion is caused by medications, talk to your health-care professional about changing medications to ones that do not cause indigestion. Never stop taking a medication without the advice of your doctor.
If indigestion is caused by a disease or medical condition, the prognosis is varied and dependent upon the resolution of that condition. Some conditions such as ulcers, GERD, and gastritis respond readily to medications. Conditions such as food poisoning or pregnancy are self-limited and symptoms should decrease over time. Hernias and gallstones, for example, usually require surgery, and the associated indigestion should resolve post-operatively.
Other conditions are difficult to treat or do not respond well to medication such as pancreatitis, gastroparesis, depression, and cancer. Treatment of these conditions may involve several methods including lifestyle changes, medications, specialist care and/or surgery.
Don’t Miss: Tramadol Cause Constipation
Does Drinking Water Help Gerd
Drinking water during the later stages of digestion can reduce acidity and GERD symptoms. Often, there are pockets of high acidity, between a pH or 1 and 2, just below the esophagus. By drinking tap or filtered water a little while after a meal, you can dilute the acid there, which can result in less heartburn.
Can You Have Reflux Without Heartburn
Most of us have heard of gastroesophageal reflux disease, frequently referred to as GERD. GERD is one of the most commonly diagnosed digestive disorders in the U.S. According to the American College of Gastroenterology, more than 60 million Americans experience heartburn at least once a month. GERD is a common and oftentimes a complex, chronic condition that manifests in various ways other than with the typical heartburn symptoms. It can be difficult to diagnose and manage, but with the proper dietary, behavioral and medical therapy, a patient can return to a normal healthy life, says Chris Lascarides, MD, gastroenterologist at Mather Gastroenterology. If you have GERD, you may have experienced heartburn or indigestion. But is it possible to suffer from reflux and not know it?
Laryngopharyngeal reflux or silent reflux is a condition in which acid from the stomach travels up the esophagus and gets to the throat. This type of acid reflux typically does not produce heartburn or indigestion like GERD. Because these hallmark GERD symptoms are absent, or silent, many people dont realize theyre suffering from reflux.
Whats the difference between silent reflux & GERD?
Someone with silent reflux may not have classic GERD symptoms, particularly heartburn, making it more difficult to diagnose, and leaving the sufferer unaware that they have it. The most common symptoms of silent reflux include:
You May Like: What Home Remedies Help With Heartburn
Read Also: How Long To Take Align Probiotic
Are There Potential Complications With Acid Reflux Symptoms
Usually, acid reflux symptoms cause no complications. In a few cases, continued esophageal damage can lead to scarring, which may cause the esophagus to narrow. The narrowing creates strictures and makes it difficult to swallow. You may have dysphagia, a sensation that food is stuck in your esophagus. In some cases, normal cells in the lining of the esophagus may be replaced by a different type of cell. This is called Barretts esophagus, which can sometimes develop into cancer.
Read Also: Constant Heartburn And Chest Pain
About The Partnership Between Ut Health Austin And Ascension Seton
The collaboration between UT Health Austin and Ascension Seton brings together medical professionals, medical school learners, and researchers who are all part of the integrated mission of transforming healthcare delivery and redesigning the academic health environment to better serve society. This collaboration allows highly specialized providers who are at the forefront of the latest research, diagnostic, and technological developments to build an integrated system of care that is a collaborative resource for clinicians and their patients.
You May Like: Lexapro And Probiotics
Acid Reflux Vs Indigestion
The difference between acid reflux and indigestion is that acid reflux occurs when acid produced by the stomach flows up into the esophagus. Indigestion is persistence or recurring pain in the upper abdomen.
In most individuals, indigestion occurs on and off and its chronic. Rennie can help ease the discomfort caused by indigestion.
|Side effects include but not limited to dry mouth, dizziness, constipation, nausea||Side effects include but not limited to headache, drowsiness, fatigue|
|Drug Administration||It can be administered either by mouth or intravenous or intramuscular or as subcutaneous injections depending on the condition and requirement of an individual||It can be administered only by mouth in the form of capsule or tablet or syrup|
Recommended Reading: Why Do I Have Heartburn Every Night
When To See A Doctor About Heartburn Vs Indigestion
If your symptoms of heartburn and/or indigestion dont improve after a few weeks of home remedies and preventive measures, see your doctor.
Chronic heartburn or indigestion issues could be a sign of an underlying medical condition that needs treatment. To get to the root of chronic indigestion or heartburn issues, your doctor may order a few tests, including:
- a physical exam of your abdomen
- acid probe tests to measure when stomach acid reaches back into your esophagus
- imaging tests, such as X-rays and endoscopies , to look at your esophagus and stomach
- blood or stool tests to rule out bacterial infections that may be causing indigestion
- pain in your abdomen that doesnt go away
- frequent vomiting
- blood in vomit or stools
- tar-colored stools
Recommended Reading: Can’t Digest Lettuce Gallbladder
What Triggers Heartburn And Indigestion
Coffee and alcohol, as well as spicy and fatty foods including chocolate and tomatoes, according to the NHS can be common triggers for indigestion.
If youre overweight or obese, you may be more likely to suffer with indigestion.
Some medicines, like anti-inflammatory painkillers, can cause it too. Medications like ibuprofen are a particularly common trigger for heartburn, so make sure youre not taking these regularly, unless you have been directed to by your own GP, says Dr McClymont.
Stress can also make indigestion worse as can smoking.
Indigestion is particularly common in pregnant women, usually from 27 weeks onwards, with up to 45% of pregnant women suffering from it at some point. This can be caused by hormonal changes and the growing baby pressing against the stomach.
What Can I Do To Prevent Indigestion
There are many things you can do to try to prevent indigestion.
Making changes in your diet and eating habits can help. These include:
- Eating several small, low-fat meals each day instead of 3 large meals
- Eating slowly and giving yourself enough time for meals
- Limiting spicy, fatty, greasy, or high-fiber foods
- Chewing your food well
- Limiting or not having any coffee, soda, or alcohol
Avoid medicines that hurt your stomach. These include aspirin and over-the-counter pain and fever medicines . If you do take them, do so after you eat.
Other lifestyle changes that may keep indigestion from happening include:
- Quitting smoking
- Finding ways to lower your emotional and physical stress, such as meditation or yoga
- Exercising before a meal or waiting at least 1 hour after eating
You May Like: Does Soy Milk Cause Diarrhea
Which Types Of Doctors Treat Indigestion
You might first see your primary care doctor who will diagnose your indigestion. You may be referred to a gastroenterologist, a specialist in disorders of the gastrointestinal tract.
If you have a problem that requires surgery such as a severe ulcer or gallstones you may be referred to a general surgeon.
What Causes Acid Reflux
Having heartburn very occasionally can usually be traced to what youre eating or the way youre eating, Atif Iqbal, M.D., medical director of the Digestive Care Center at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in California, tells SELF. For example, he explains that having a large meal might cause your LES to loosen a bit as your stomach expands and that could cause a little acid to splash up into the esophagus. Combining lots of trigger foods can also spur symptoms. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, triggers foods are unique to each person, but the most common culprits include:
- Spicy or fatty foods, full-fat dairy products
- Tomatoes and tomato sauces
If youre experiencing reflux more often, however, its possible you could have other factors at play. Food is the biggest factor, but definitely not the only one, says Dr. Iqbal. If youre getting acid reflux regularly and youve tried changing what you eat and its not helping, then you should get it checked out.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, other things that can raise your reflux risk can include:
You May Like: Omeprazole Side Effects Dizziness